“My worst performance was far much better than the best for HH so far”, says ECL: But Lungu is wrong here
By Dr. Chris ZUMANI Zimba
Yesterday, l was closely following the ‘Opposition Parties Joint Press Briefing’ on Prime TV and Smart Eagles comparatively. My personal take away message was simply one statement from the PF leader, Forner President Edgar Chagwa Lungu. He said that “my worst performance as president was far much better than the best performance for President HH so far”, end of my paraphrased quote from ECL. Certainly, I don’t agree with him and we shall discuss why very soon.
I will empirically discuss 20 key points to compare and contrast between the 7 years rule of Former President Lungu and the three years rule of Sitting President Hakainde Hichilema in terms of performance and quickly conclude to justify why l don’t agree with president ECL’s statement above.
2. 20 Factual Reasons why l believe ECL’s statement above is incorrect and wrong
When Donald Trump announced his intentions to contest the 2024 Presidential Elections last year, many American political analysts, legal experts, journalists and economists immediately started to compare President Joe Biden’s performance in power against the performance of One Trump at White House then.
This scientific trend has continued until now even amidst all legal and political battles against Donald Trump. This is the approach l have decided to take and run with here so that we don’t allow subjective views and biased comparisons by identifying and discussing only 20 key areas and hot issues between ECL in power and our sitting president, One Bally, HH himself as shown below:
1. Lungu at his worst ruled Zambia and left the pump price of fuel at K15 per liter in August 2021. Our HH at his best now in 2024 has just pushed the pump price of fuel to K34.5 per liter. HH’s pump price today is the highest as well as the worst since 24th October, 1964 at independence. In fact, it is the total opposite of what Bally promised before coming into State House;
2. Lungu at his worst performance in office in 2021 left the price of mealie meal, Zambia’s staple food at K85 lowest and K120 highest. HH at his best in office in 2024 has soared the price of mealie meal to K260 lowest for ZNS subsidized’GMO’ to K450 highest with Zambia’s staple food now becoming so rare and scarce like digging deep ocean oil and natural gas;
3. Under Lungu at his worst performance in 2019 or 2020, Zambians had bumper harvests, adequate food supply and FRA had food reserves in excess of 1.5 million metric tons: Zambia was a food basket for the region indeed. Under HH at his best performance in 2024, Zambia is in staple food crisis, citizens are dying of hunger, starvation is rampant and FRA is dry with no maize reserves;
4. During Lungu’s worst years in power, the agricultural sector was blossoming with more than 1 million farming citizens enjoying to receive a minimum of two bags of FISP fertilizers and other farming inputs. Under HH’s best rule as of 2023/2024, Zambians farmers are sharing one bag of fertilizer by four or six people, FISP has gone only to UPND cadres while the agricultural sector has sunk into chaos;
5. Under Lungu’s worst reign in power, yes there was some elements of political tribalism practiced with some handful civil servants ( less than 25) packed at cabinet office’s PSMD on various disciplinary grounds or retired in national interest. Lungu’s tribalism at his worst had a face of “One Zambia, One Nation” as seen by his state house and cabinet teams where Zambezi regions had visible known faces;
6. Under HH’s best reign in power, tribalism and regionalism is the official signature of running government in all sectors and public life from state house, cabinet, parastatals, etc. From recruitment, promotions to capacity building trainings, HH’s teams stubbornly look at ethic and regional lines. Today, PSMD is believed to have more than 403 civil servants punitively packed on political punishment and regional discrimination with ZNBC Brian MWALE being the latest victim at a Tonga dominated ZEMA. Those transferred, demoted and even retired in national interest are also countless;
7. At his worst, Lungu managed to contain a global pandemic outbreak and cholera epidemic with proper multsectoral response and thereby reduced citizens death and prevented mass mournings in 2020. At his best, Hichilema has pathetically failed to coordinate and contain a simple cholera outbreak in Lusaka and other few provinces as death rates grow and disease infections keep on abnormally spreading among Zambians in 2024; Today, our health sector is in paralysis with no key medicines for Zambians as HH considers to promote Hon. Silvia Masebo to be Foreign Affairs Minister;
8. This ECL at his worst built KK International Conference centre; Kazungula Bridge, High rise bridged roads in Lusaka, dual to four ways carriage roads, Levy Hospital plus multiple modern hospitals, mini hospitals and clinics, universities and colleges, schools, police/army/ZNS/prison and ZAF housing units and barracks, new prison facilities, Kalabo long way suspended bridge, modern hydro power stations, ZNS solar milling plants, opened economic zones and farming schemes everywhere, created IDC for mass industrialization, etc.
9. These ECL infrastructures are visible everywhere in Zambia. I know Lungu at his worst in office because l directly worked with him and accompanied him to launch or inspect many infrastructure projects countrywide. ECL at his worst managed to build KKIA, an aw award winning international modem airport in Africa, New Ndola International Airport and many other modernized airports we all know in Zambia;
10. For HH at his best in office, he has birthed many three by one classroom blocks and simple renovations of rural clinics using CDF money, buildings that are already cracking, falling down and some being blown off by dry winds in many places. HH at his best has showered cheap township roads, drainage systems and bridges using CDF money, so poor workmanship that many are already being washed away by first rains like in Kalingalinga and Mutendere here in Lusaka; some HH’s CDF bridges are being swept away in Eastern, Muchinga and Luapula provinces;
11. During ECL’s worst years in office, the JCTR Basic Needs and Nutrition Basket (BNNB) for January 2019 was at K 5,395.35 for a family of five people in Lusaka while the national average was at K3, 620.23 in December 2019. This means that the cost of living under Lungu was both affordable and bearable especially that there was constant or routine circulation and oiling of money in the economy;
12. In January 2023 under HH’s best rulership, the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) Basic Needs and Nutrition Basket (BNNB), the cost of living for a family of 5 in Lusaka stood at KK9, 003.21; double the average monthly income in the nation stands at K4, 393.00. This means that the cost of living has plummeted to harshest levels while majority Zambians do not have money in their pocket to live for another day, week or month;
13. Under Lungu at his worst performance, yes there was corruption indeed but many people had money in their pockets to buy basic commodities: life was bearable and many people were generally happy across Zambia. Under ECL, this evil called corruption had some visible positive effects on many Zambians as citizens had more money to spend, build, buy, eat, drink and dance around;
14. To the contrary, HH’s best rule in his three years, we have seen the systematic and widespread escalation of corruption and plundering of public resources to formal kleptocracy (rule by theft) as factually submitted by the Swedish ambassador to Zambia and repeatedly explained by Dr. Fred M’membe, Sean Tembo, Edith Nawakwi, Archbishop T Mpundu, Dr. Sishuwa Sishuwa, Transparency International Zambia and many others;
15. Under HH’s rule at his best in 2024, our accredited diplomats are telling us that many foreign investors from their countries are now shunning Zambia due to abnormal looting, cruel embezzlement and heavy corruption by ruling party cadres and state officials: a formal confirmation of the birth and existence of kleptocracy under UPND;
16. At his worst, Lungu allowed all political players to have political rallies anywhere, citizens could match and protest, conduct press briefings, mobilize their political parties and the state respected citizens for their rights and freedoms. During his entire seven years rule, ECL arrested less 15 political rivals, scholars and activists for providing divergent views and criticisms;
17. At his best in less than 3 years, HH has imposed sanctions on the opposition leaders, no one can have political rallies anywhere, no press conferences anyhow, and no political party can mobilize their supporters anywhere in Zambia apart from himself and UPND. In addition, the three years reign of HH has witnessed more than 84 incidents of brutal police arrests countrywide, malicious litigations and imprisonment of political rivals and critics of his rule;
18. At his worst, ECL respected the constitution, rule of law and separation of powers to the extent that he willingly conceded defeat and happily handed over power to HH at Heroes Stadium in 2021. At his best so far, HH does not respect the rule of law with his ‘mingalato’ formula: he appoints people into public office without any regards for the constitution like his Auditor General, ECZ chairperson, some ECZ commissioners, etc and he does not assure anyone that he will concede defeat and willingly handover in 2026;
19. At his worst during his seven years rule, Lungu made less than 40 foreign trips and HH repeatedly mocked him as ‘kamwedo munjila’ (a person who always travels). At his best in less than three years, Hichilema has become the new Vasco Dagama with more than 70 foreign trips as Republican President to his name and thereby beating all past presidents; and
20. At his worst in power, Lungu left Zambian Kwacha at K15 per 1 U$ dollar. Today at his best in power, HH has taken the Kwacha to K27 per 1U$ dollar (the highest in Zambian history) while our national currency is deemed to be among the top two weakest currencies in the world as we speak. Today, HH is the only president who is cunningly boosting of being in the “champions league” when his country is sinking in all sectors and citizens are dying like bees.
In 2015 and 2016, Lungu told Zambians that he only came to fulfill Micheal Sata’s vision, not his own. HH satanically laughed at ECL and brutally called him as “chimbwe no plan”. But Lungu at his worst when he was leaving office, he left the health, education, energy, agriculture, mining, civil service, democratic, infrastructure and all key sectors standing with signatures of “sonta, upowabomba” (show us what you have done);
For HH, he pompously set the parameters of performance for himself before he was elected into power in 2021. Under “Bally will Fix it”, HH campaigned as an angle and promised paradise for all Zambians which he has terribly failed to deliver and fulfill. So far, he has delivered below average in all key sectors; the very sectors ECL scored credits, merits and distinctions at his worst level.
So the captioned statement by ECL is factually incorrect and wrong because there is no basis of comparison whatsoever between Lungu and Hichilema. While Lungu delivered to the expectations of Zambians in all key sectors, this Bally has totally failed especially that people voted him into power out of his sweet talk, paradise campaign promises and Adolf Hitler’s style of political rhetorics. People just wanted change, the very change HH promised them.
On 13th July, 2020 President HH as lead opposition leader then wrote on his Facebook page and said: “When the government fails to change the lives of people, the people must change the government “. Why HH is not officially resigning his position to his Vice President or call for early elections to allow Zambians to change his failed government?
Yes, both man on earth and God in heaven knows that HH has completely failed and change of government is the only alternative as prescribed by himself in 2020. Lungu at his worst in 2021 was a full chicken for Zambians to eat while HH at his best in 2024 is still an egg showing signs of rotting without hope to eaten or become a chick. How then do we compare these two political folks?
Dr Chris ZUMANI Zimba is a Political Scientist, Researcher, Author & Consultant specialized in Comparative Global Governance and Democratic Theories. He holds a PhD, MA, BA and Cert in Political Science. Zimba was President Lungu’s Political Advisor from December 2019 to August 2021.